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Remote SEO Jobs: No Office Building, No Commute

Office Confinement Remote Work

Photo Illustration © Mike Valentine

I‘ve worked as an SEO a total of 10 years from home – that time was broken up by 3 additional corporate in-house SEO stints working from 5 different corporate office buildings over 8 additonal years, mostly in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The corporate in-house roles all allowed infrequent work-from-home, but encouraged the majority of time spent in the office. As a consultant, I’ll often have in-person lunch meetings or get together with clients in their office conference rooms where I present to Editorial or Engineering groups. However, most communication is via email, phone and conference calls.

Calls have been coming consistently from corporate tech recruiters seeking candidates for SEO Leadership roles contacting me through LinkedIn over the past year as I’ve been focused on re-establishing my SEO consulting business following the most recent corporate role. There have been some very interesting potential full-time in-house SEO positions which definitely got my attention and that I’ve considered seriously. But when it comes down to it, I love operating a one-man SEO consulting business, working remotely. Even if I were to take another in-house SEO role, I’d attempt to negotiate spending much of my time working remotely from my home office, with in-person meetings as needed.

I worked in-house at an office building with 150 people where we had regular “All Hands” updates from the executive team and senior management who squeezed uncomfortably into the largest conference room while everyone else in the building was on the conference call along with 300 more remote employees. After spending years in corporate settings, I’ve rarely felt it necessary to have those in-person meetings. Many times those live in-person meetings also had secondary locations conferencing in. Why not everyone on that conference line? – Why not everyone viewing reports and presentations using screen sharing? Those in the office had the same experience of those meetings as those conferenced in via Webex or Lync (Skype for Business).

Each time another corporate recruiter calls, I give serious consideration to that 9-5 world again. Those weekends off, paid vacation time and long list of benefits are tempting. Routinely working weekends (I really do enjoy it) and then spending many weekdays working again after dinner and then waking early to take calls from a client subsidiary in Europe all tend toward overwork. Those extra expenses of running a home office and covering my own benefits, doing my own invoicing and making those sales calls to potential new clients are a challenge sometimes. But it’s worth it.

During the past year I’ve considered several corporate SEO/Marketing roles because recruiters called – three that offered remote working options and several that didn’t:

  • Head of SEO for an East Coast company that required regular travel, but would have allowed staying rooted in Southern California and working remotely.
  • VP of SEO for a business that had ignored search until their aging infrastructure and resulting traffic losses were targeted and emphasized by a new CEO committed to turning it around. Offered remote option.
  • CMO for a company with a fully distributed workforce that wanted to build SEO into their Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. Remote only.
  • SEO leadership roles (A dozen or so more) traditional office-based that would not consider remote options. Each required relocation or lengthy commutes to an office building.

As you can see in that list above, three positions offered remote work as a matter of course. Not just the option of sometimes working from home because the cable guy is coming or because a plumbing emergency requires it, but working from home more frequently than working in an office. That is encouraging and smart. We need more corporations to consider hiring remote tech employees instead of requiring wasteful commutes and relocation from city to city. I’ve worked in San Francisco twice for corporate employers, but would rather work remotely, from my Los Angeles home, for a San Francisco based company.

Ultimately, Remote SEO Consulting is what I’ve done for over 10 years. The same work gets done remotely as that done in an office cubicle. Presentations can be done remotely. Monthly reports can be shared remotely. Task tracking and work assignments can be done remotely. Recommendations can be made remotely and implemented remotely once approved. The Director of Engineering at one of my corporate gigs used to forbid anyone from speaking directly to any of his engineering team because it stopped their workflow and interrupted their concentration. Why not have them work remotely?

There are dozens of examples of tech businesses being operated remotely with fully distributed workforces. Automattic, parent of WordPress has famously just closed their San Francisco office this month because the space meant for dozens more is used regularly by only 5 people.

Automattic was a pioneer in distributed workforce with their staff of over 500 people and has become an example of how to do remote working well. Below is an excerpt from their “About Us” blurb on the Automattic web site:

We’re a distributed company with 563 Automatticians in 56 countries speaking 78 different languages. Our common goal is to democratize publishing so that anyone with a story can tell it, regardless of income, gender, politics, language, or where they live in the world.

There are many more moving in this direction – here’s a list of over 75 companies using distributed teams. There are multiple jobs websites which are focused on remote positions with listings from progressive businesses seeking remote employees. I also do remote SEO work with several agencies that white label and sub-contract my SEO services. Below is a Google Custom Search for Remote SEO Jobs – give it a try.

Let’s stop needless commutes, unnecessary relocations and office confinement of employees by taking advantage of remote work.

Mike Valentine